Upgrading to a new point of sale system is one of the most profound improvements you can make to your bottom line in a single decision. Get it right and your choice becomes the central hub through which every other aspect of your business flows.
Businesses of all sizes now use their point of sale (POS) system as a single platform to unite their inventory and staff management, customer service, accounting, and sales report tasks. It is a way of analyzing the effectiveness of your business with the same solutions you use to conduct it.
The primary decision you have to make before you can maximize your upgrade is the form your new POS solution will take: onsite POS system vs iPad system.
You should make that decision based on the same criteria you would use to assess any new business technology:
- Power and Performance
- Versatility and Scalability
- Suitability for Your Business
Firstly though, you have to understand how a POS solution can help your business, and what the difference is between the two major options.
How Can POS Help?
A POS system can become the heart of your business by revealing how every dollar of spend ultimately becomes profit. It is a combination of the transactional cash register and the inventory management of purchase orders, sales, and write-offs that goes on outside the customer experience.
It pulls off this feat by being both the hardware you use to make transactions and the software you use to track them. A POS solution will look different in every setting across its most common retail, restaurant, service, and café applications, but essentially it is the digital cash register, the wireless payment option, and the customer service terminal that handles the public transaction. Beyond those roles, it can also host the apps and programs that track supplier records, sales figures, and the cost of waste, employee training, and advertising.
When you get such an integrated service really working you improve sales by better matching products with customers, and you save resources by removing waste in the system.
There are two distinct ways to get a POS system firing on all cylinders.
POS System vs iPad—What’s the Difference?
The biggest difference between the leading POS solutions is how they access information.
An onsite system, which is based around a large central all-in-one terminal or register, is self-contained and filled with the programs it needs to organize your business just as your desktop computer runs files off its own hard drive.
An iPad solution, which is based around a tablet and a series of interchangeable peripherals, uses the internet to access and store all the apps you need to run your business.
The decisions you’ll have to make in order to select the best POS solution for you are based on this difference. One is an immovable power unto itself, while the other is a nimble connection to the web.
Here’s how the difference plays out against those key criteria.
1. Power and Performance
The digital age has turned the “bigger is better” mantra on its head with the pocket-sized smartphone, but when it comes to processing power it does help to be huge. An onsite POS system is a bigger computer with more capacity to churn through data than a tablet rival. It also has the advantage of storing its programs within its own shell—hence the “onsite” tag—so you don’t have to rely on your internet connection to reach your files.
The leading iPad POS solutions have more than enough grunt to tackle the busiest of Black Friday sales, and can even be locally installed, but ultimately, bigger hard drives are better.
Has the edge: POS system
2. Versatility and Scalability
What a POS system gains in processing power from its size it loses in versatility for the same reasons. An iPad system—which connects to a range of hardware devices such as cash drawers, printers, scales much like a POS system—on the other hand, can be pressed into service as any sort of multimedia device you require. Light enough to be handed over to a customer for self-service or entertainment, and powerful enough to take orders, process payments, and capture customer information, the iPad approach is the more flexible of the two. Unlike an onsite model, you can access an iPad system and its cloud-based apps from any personal device and any location outside the office.
Additionally, as the iPad variety depends on cloud-based software it takes the POS system vs iPad points when it comes to upgrading, maintaining, scaling, and multitasking within your growing business.
Has the edge: iPad
3. Suitability for Your Business
An onsite POS system is a physically impressive device, but its looks can be overwhelming. If you’re looking to evolve your business aesthetics beyond the traditional “cash register marks the spot” for all sales interactions, then a discrete iPad is more appealing. In fact, you can hide the latter away completely or employ it as a sales aid with a multimedia display of your product variations.
While both systems are powerful tools for handling all the transactions you would once have left to a register, an iPad is designed for mobility and accessing a range of different apps so it is more functional when it comes to performing other tasks around the store, such as taking orders, making future bookings, or connecting to the potential of the internet.
Has the edge: iPad
It is a little word, but “Price” is important. Again, the iPad’s internet connection tends to give it an advantage. The focus on software rather than hardware means the solution can be delivered as a subscription expense through the popular Software as a Service cloud delivery. The overheads that come with buying an onsite device are replaced with recurring incremental monthly and yearly commitments, usually without lock-in contracts. The maintenance, tech support, and upgrades necessary to run such a system over time are usually provided within the subscription cost.
If you have a legacy onsite device then it can be cheaper to improve on the existing format, as there’s little value to be retrieved from a traditional model. If, however, you are starting a business from scratch the limited upfront burden of SaaS can free up resources to be used elsewhere.
Has the edge: iPad
Onsite POS System vs iPad—It’s Your Choice
Every business is as different as the ideas behind it. So, it is up to you to decide which of the leading digital POS solutions best fits your resources, ambitions, and practical needs.
Arguably, you have made the right decision already by deciding to upgrade to a modern POS system that can drive your entire business, rather than just collect coins in a cash drawer.
When you partner with talech for your technology needs you get a product tailored to your unique business. We deliver an innovative POS solution that levels the playing field and better serves your customers. Reach out to us today to sign up for a demo and to learn more about how talech can be your valued POS partner.